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Psychological And Behavioral Effects Of Child Abuse Social Work Essay

Child abuse is damaging and has long-term effects. The effect of child abuse doesn’t end with physical wounds. Unfortunately, it can lead to psychological and behavioral problems later on in adulthood. Research has shown that child abuse can lead to several health problems. The common problems include anxiety, depression, suicide, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse. Child abuse is a huge problem across the world and does not seem to be improving. Society needs to realize the full impact of child abuse and look for more helpful ways of treating and ultimately preventing child abuse and the consequences of it.

Thousands of children from across the world have experienced some form of abuse during their childhood. Unfortunately, the number of abused children continues to grow each year. From infants to adolescents, all are susceptible to experiencing some form of abuse. Whether it is a onetime incident or an ongoing problem, the mental effects of abuse on children can be damaging. Their wounds go beyond cuts, bruises, burns, broken bones, fractures, and so on, they include psychological and behavioral wounds as well. It's the psychological and behavioral wounds are the most important, because they last long after the physical wounds have healed.

Children, who are abused, often deal with that abuse through unhealthy and damaging behaviors. Abused children are more likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol. They are more likely to experience depression and anxiety. Abused children are also at higher risk for suicidal behavior. Unfortunately, the list of psychological and behavioral effects of child abuse could go on and on. In the end though, it is clear that the damage done to children who experience abuse extends far beyond their physical wounds. Therefore, it is important, that when treating child abuse, there is consideration given to the possible psychological and behavioral wounds they may have, as well as the physical wounds.

The first article was titled, "Childhood Abuse, Adult Health, and Health Care Utilization: Results from a Representative Community Sample" written by M. J. Chartier, J. R. Walker, and B. Naimark. The authors did a study in Ontario, Canada on individuals who were abused during childhood and how their health was as adults and their use of health care. The authors understood that children who were abused were more likely to have health problems later on. However, they wanted to understand further. Therefore, they looked at how gender and age played a role. The results of their study were interesting. For the most part, it seems that females and young adults who were abused as children are more likely to report health problems than males and older adults who were abused. Also, more females and young adults reported visiting a health care professional. However, the authors did mention that there were a few exceptions to these results, but they didn't elaborate on them. In the end, the study supports the fact that children who are abused are affected long after their physical wounds have healed. In fact, the study takes it a step further and points out that the effects are more apparent in females and young adults compared to males and older adults. The factors that were looked at for this study include smoking, drinking alcohol, drugs, high-risk sexual activities, poor nutrition, and more. All of these can lead to health problems, as well as effect a person’s behavior and psychological well-being.

The study had quite a few strengths. One of the biggest strengths was the type questions asked to gain the data for the study. The questions were somewhat broad, but not so broad that the answers would weaken the results. For example, when asking about physical abuse, the questionnaire didn't include being spanked as a form of abuse, because if how common spanking is. The authors also tried to collect information from several urban and rural households, which broadens the type of people being survey and included in the study. Another strength was that the results were not only discussed in the article, but also laid out in tables, which allowed for a better understanding of the data all together.

As far as weaknesses go for this study, the biggest weakness would that they kept the study limited to Ontario, Canada. The study should have included, at the very least, data collected from other provinces in Canada. Also, the youngest age surveyed was fifteen. Fifteen year olds are a little young. The study should have restricted the youngest age to eighteen.

The second article was titled, "Rates and Psychological Effects of Exposure to Family Violence among Sri Lankan University Students" written by Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia and Piyanjili de Zoysa. The authors did a study to determine the psychological effects of exposure to family violence in Sri Lankan university students. The authors focused on four psychological symptoms, including disassociation, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance. The results of the study found that the more often the participants had been abused, the more likely they were to reveal higher levels of the four psychological symptoms. The authors also found that the more types of violence the participants were exposed too, the greater their symptoms were.

This study had several strengths, including in-depth information on the participants' background information. The authors took into account each participants gender, age, year in college, parents' ages, number of siblings, religion, social status, and more, which helped give a better understanding of what factors may influence family violence. Also, the study was very close to having an equal number of male and female participants. Another was the options for answering the questionnaire. There were seven options to choose from, regarding the amount of abuse a person endured, with zero being never and seven being daily.

One of the biggest weaknesses of this study was how limited the list of psychological symptoms was. The authors narrowed it down to only four symptoms, which made the study specific, but limited. Unfortunately, the study was also weak, because of the small amount of people surveyed. Also, the participants were all from on college, so there wasn't much variation. The study should have included more participants, as well as participants from other universities. That would have given the authors a better sampling and possibly a better understanding of their question.

The next article was titled, "Health-Related Quality of Life Among Adults Who Experienced Maltreatment During Childhood" written by Phaedra S. Corso, Valerie J. Edwards, Xiangming Fang, and James A. Mercy. The authors of this study wanted to know if childhood maltreatment affected health-related quality of life in adulthood. They compared the health-related quality of life between people who experienced childhood maltreatment and those who did not. The results of their study was that people who experience childhood maltreatment have both significant and sustained losses in their overall health compared to people who were not abused as children. The health problems mentioned in this study include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, and more. The author's mentioned that physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional neglect all had significant effects on people's health by themselves. However, emotional abuse and physical neglect did not cause significant effects without being combined with another form of abuse.

One of the studies strengths was that its survey used thirty-six questions to obtain health information from the participants, which covers a lot of health problems. Another was that it covered several types of abuse including physical, sexual, and emotional, as well as physical and emotional neglect. That's important, because any form of abuse can be damaging; not just the more commonly discussed ones like physical and sexual abuse.

There were a few weaknesses to this study, which included a small sampling. The study was also based around one area, rather than several areas. Therefore, the number of people surveyed was limited. Also, the authors used surveys that were completed years ago in an original study. They should have relied more on new and current data.

The last article was titled, "Understanding and Treating Children Who Experience Interpersonal Maltreatment: Empirical Findings" written by David M. Lawson. The author study research findings on the consequences of child maltreatment, as well as child maltreatment all around. In terms of consequences though, the author found that children who are maltreated are susceptible to physical and psychological problems. Some of the problems mentioned in the article include anxiety, depression, suicidal behavior, dissociation, hyperactivity, and more. The author also found that maltreated children are also vulnerable to developing posttraumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder.

The major strength of this article was that it very informative on maltreatment. The author covered all areas of maltreatment; not just the consequences, which allowed for a better understanding. Also, the author gathered his information from several studies. Therefore, the information is informative and diverse.

The weakness behind this article was that the author didn't do any kind of study or survey himself. He relied only on other people's studies and their findings. Also, he doesn't provide a whole lot of details on each of the studies he used. Therefore, the information is helpful, but incomplete.

In the end, each of the articles supports the fact that child abuse effects both psychological and behavioral development. They describe the serious health problems and unhealthy behaviors that are often found among adults who were abused during childhood. There were a few common problems that seemed to appear often. They were anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse. All four of the articles described at least one of those problems as being more likely found in people who were abused during childhood. However, each article also added new problems and behaviors to the list, such as smoking, sleeping disorders, disassociation, and etc. Nonetheless, they all described the potential long-term effects of physical abuse on children can have later on. Again, child abuse goes beyond the physical wounds. Therefore, society needs to realize the full impact of child abuse and look for better ways of treating and ultimately preventing child abuse and the consequences of it. Society needs to be more diligent in its fight against child abuse.


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